For 25 years now, Robert Van Camp, a filmmaker from Winston-Salem, has been documenting scenic railroads and the majesty of trains and railways, in North Carolina and elsewhere.
Along the way, Van Camp has earned 15 regional Emmy awards, the most recent being awarded in January, and also received public television’s Programming Excellence Award.
At 8 p.m. tonight, UNC-TV will commemorate the anniversary with “Best of Trains Around North America,” a retrospective in which Van Camp selects his top 10 favorite rail journeys in North America.
Locations in the special include the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in North Carolina, Tennessee Valley Railway Museum and Hiwassee River Rail Adventure in Tennessee.
“The enjoyment I get is seeing it come to fruition,” he said in a statement, “starting with one railroad and filming it, editing it, airing it and going to the station to help raise money. That’s my passion.”
The “Great Scenic Railway Journeys” series has become a perennial favorite on UNC-TV and other PBS stations, broadcast on affiliates nationwide, often during fundraising periods to help the stations in fundraising time. David Holt, the historian and storyteller, is the host and narrator.
Van Camp started keeping track of the money raised with his programs in 1998, and estimates he has helped raise more than $1 million for UNC-TV and more than $10 million for public stations in the U.S.
“UNC-TV is very proud of its long partnership with Rob Van Camp on the ‘Great Scenic Railway Journeys’ series,” said Shannon Vickery, director of production partnerships for UNC-TV. “For 25 years, Rob has been taking UNC-TV viewers on wonderful adventures on some of the world’s most historic and scenic tourist railways.
“Our viewers love the series, as do public television viewers across the nation, because it gives them a one-of-a-kind journey with Rob and host David Holt on these iconic railways. We are looking forward to celebrating an important anniversary for the series when we premiere Rob’s latest program Monday night.”